FAMOUS Hampshire gardens are set to be improved as a £1,358,000 scheme has been given the green light. 

Jermyn’s House restaurant at Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, near Romsey, is to be expanded to provide 100 extra covers inside and a new external terrace.

The expansion will bring the total amount of inside covers to 148, enabling the venue to welcome more visitors and host larger events.

The project is part of a transformation programme which will also see a new walled garden at the site.

County bosses said details of the wider transformation programme are still being determined but the expansion of the restaurant represents its first step.

As part of the scheme, a new terrace and a single-storey extension will be built.

lnternal and external works will also be carried out and the existing restaurant and kitchen will be upgraded.

The exiting toilets at the site will be refurbished and new toilets will be built.

Landscaping areas and a new external path to link with existing footpaths will be created outside the restaurant.

The news comes as the Executive Member for Policy and Resources at Hampshire County Council (HCC) approved the proposal last week.

According to a report published ahead of the meeting it is anticipated that works will start during autumn 2019 and complete during summer 2020.

County bosses said the development of Jermyn’s House is planned to enable continued growth in visitor numbers, wider garden exploration, longer and repeated visits and increased income generation.

A document published by the county council also says: “The main entrance pavilion on the north side of the gardens

provides the primary catering offer.

“This project at Jermyn’s House seeks to enhance and complement that offer and spread visitor density more evenly through the gardens.

“The extension will improve and augment the current restaurant offer, improve visitor infrastructure and encourage wider and repeated garden visits.”

The gardens and arboretum were created by Sir Harold Hillier and originally formed the grounds around his home.

They have been enhanced under the ownership of HCC from 1977 and were recorded by English Heritage in 1997.

Jermyn’s House is situated in the grounds of the Grade II listed gardens.

According to official documents, the funding for the proposals will be covered primarily from Sir Harold Hillier Gardens’ development reserves.